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Weekly PR Update

W. Ross Clites
Your City Sports - Cleveland

Kent, OHIO--Put the notion of Steven Strasburg in this year's All-Star Game to bed. With his second loss (not much more he can do) he slipped even further in the National League Pitcher Rating rankings. People in favor of Strasburg pitching in the game have stated that "as long as it does not bump a deserving pitcher, he should be there." Well, as I see it, there are about 30 pitchers more deserving.

Other people are quick to point out that the National League, desperate for an All-Star victory for the first time since 1996, needs Strasburg to win the game. After watching his latest start against a division-leading Braves team, it is easy to see that he has been pitching on adrenaline and that drug is wearing out. He looked apathetic, tired, possibly even injured. Strasburg was still amazing and did strike out 7 batters, but batters are starting to scoff at the breaking ball and sit on his dead-straight (albeit 100 mph) fastball.

Leave him off the team or trade him to the American League where you can make a better argument for his inclusion. His league is unfortunately loaded with upstart seasons out of unexpected people. Tim Hudson found the fountain of youth, Carlos Silva and Mike Pelfrey are doing things they have never done in their entire careers. Although Jaime Garcia has slipped in the PR rankings again this week, he is still a better National League rookie story than Strasburg. All told, the NL looks stacked as is. The average Pitcher Rating of their potential All-Star rotation is almost double of the American League. They should be the morning line favorites without him.

I understand that Strasburg could help, but he definitely will not start the game. Think pragmatically. Pitching out of the bullpen is a situation he is unaccustomed to. His starter's mentality could actually make him a liability should he pitch the fifth inning without his full warm-up routine and a zero hanging from the opponent's run total. And how do the Nationals feel about their multi-million dollar investment making unnecessary throws in a game that will mean nothing for their 2010 franchise?

Unless the Nats want their ace to be closing games for Cleveland in ten years, i.e. Kerry Wood, they need to step in and decline any invitation that may (but shouldn't) be extended Strasburg's way. He has two more starts to strike out 10 batters per game, move up the PR list, and make a believer out of me. For now, I say patience is a virtue. He can make the next 15 All-Star Games if he wants to.

Pitcher Rating June 30
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